Thursday, December 27, 2012
Then my good feelings came crashing down when I decided that I should probably check my email box as Tate, and I had to tell two fans of PRECINCT 13 that they needed to give up hope for a sequel. It occurs to me that I should probably take some time to update my website and let people know the sad, sad truth. Despite being advertised as "the first in a new series" everywhere, PRECINCT 13 is officially a stand-alone, as Penguin USA has decided to pass on the opportunity to publish a sequel.
I know, right? BUMMER.
I'm especially sad because I loved PRECINCT 13 in a way that I haven't truly loved a series of mine since the first Garnet Lacey book. I am still seriously considering the possibility of serializing the sequel online with the idea that eventually I would turn the finished project into an e-book. But, I haven't gotten started on that... perhaps with the New Year?
I think I'll make that my goal. Starting in the New Year, it will be my resolution to write the sequel to Precinct 13. I think this is a good plan, because it's sincerely disheartening to have to tell people that no, they can't hope for a new book by me any time soon.....
And I'm determined to make 2013 a good year for Tate!
Sunday, December 02, 2012
Several days ago, I came home to discover a request for an interview in my in-box. So I took a few minutes to answer the dozen or so questions and send it back. I got asked that ubiquitous question, "If they ever made a movie of your books, who would you cast...?" Normally, I hate that question because I don't watch enough TV or movies to even have a clue who's the new hottie superstar (and clearly, that's what the answer is supposed to be).
But, I now have a defaut answer! J. Michael Tatum. He is, in fact, the only actor I know. True, he's currently best known as the voice of Sebastian in "Black Butler" and for his work in "Ouran Host Club," but, having met him at Gaylaxicon, I can tell you, he'd make a fine Valentine or Sebastian in live-action. So, ta dah! I finally have a decent answer to that question. Granted, it makes me look perhaps a bit like a super-geek to name an Anime voice actor, but to which I say, "And your point...?"
The fun part of this story was that I was feeling brave so I texted J. Michael himself and told him this (through reasons that still somewhat baffle me, we exchanged phone numbers at the end of Gaylaxicon--apparently I didn't give him the impression I thought I did, which was, "Idiot Squeeing Fan Grrl"), and, anyway, instead of getting back, "And you are...?" He wrote back something very sweet which implied that he remembered me, but also made him seem like possibly the NICEST GUY ON EARTH. It's possible that he stared at his phone and thought, "Who the fuck is this?" but then shrugged and decided, "Well, you know, it never hurts to be nice," and then later went to the Googles to try to remember what possessed him to give his real phone number to someone in Minnesota who wasn't Anton... but, hey, it kind of made my day, regardless.
Thursday, October 11, 2012
I've been told the best way to survive National Novel Writing Month (which, btw, starts in a matter of weeks, beginning in November,) is to do a lot of pre-plotting and outlining before the big event. The idea is that will keep you focused when you're trying to push words out. But, I have a much bigger problem: I'm not sure which project I want to focus on.
At Gaylaxicon, thanks in large part to Kyell's enthusiasm for it, I actually got an offer to publish my gay superhero story, which I read as a work in progress at WorldCON. Being the sort of person I am (*cough*writingwhore*cough*), the idea that there's a built in market for this novel/novella really appeals to me. Plus, the story is a great deal of fun. It would not be the sort of thing that I would find difficult to sit down and plow through for an entire month.
However, the editor who offered kept apologizing for the fact that almost no money would be available, and he encouraged me to try to sell that story elsewhere, should I finish it. At this point in my career, any offer works for me. However, it does put this project on a more even ground with something like writing the next Garnet Lacey and/or Precinct 13 story as an e-book.
I could potentially make some $$ if I self-published a sequel/continuation of one of my existing series as an e-book. Presumably there are fans out there who would want to buy an e-book release. My biggest worry/concern about doing a Tate Hallway e-book is that I'm not quite sure what my rights are in regards to those books. All of the Tate books are still in print, which means they belong to Penguin USA. Technically, my contracts stipulate that the publisher has right of first refusal on all sequels/next works of paranormal romance, but I have no idea if that extends to a project like this. I suppose I should ask my agent. She would know.
The other drawback is one I probably shouldn't admit to in public, but part of me still resists this business model: self-e-publishing. It still feels really labor intensive to me, and I remain unconvinced all that work upfront is worth the supposed eventual paycheck. One of the things I like about having a big, New York publisher is (the advance, but also) that I don't have to mess around with all the formatting details. Plus, I'd suddenly be responsible for the single most critical part of a book's success--the cover art. That, quite frankly, freaks me out. And, I'd need to be super-rigorous about typos. Anyone reading here or my frist-drafty fanfic KNOWS I have a problem with spelling and I have NEVER ACTUALLY mastered the use of the comma in the English language.
On top of those super-appealing options is a third one--all those other stories I said to myself, "damn, if I ever get time I'd like to work on those." The problem, of course, is that I've had time, and nothing has quite grabbed me, alas. But, this feels like the perfect time to take on something that's been a dream project. So, I don't know.
I need to decide soon. With NaNoWriMo approaching, I'm going to need to focus on those outlines. (Another plus in the Hallaway projects column is that all the potential novels is that they come with book proposals/outlines already written.)
Thursday, October 04, 2012
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
"I open up my novel and hit, 'Select-All, Delete.'"
Kelly McCullough and I laughed nervously, and then did a classic double-take, "Wait, what? SERIOUSLY????"
It turns out Kelly Barnhill's method for revision is to completely delete her novel (yes, she means all of it, all 80,000 words) and rewrite it FROM SCRATCH.
The other Kelly and I sputtered incoherently for several minutes, and number of writers in the audience had a complete heart attack at this thought. I mean, from the bloodless look on his face, I'm not sure Michael Mirriam will ever quite recover from the shock.
But today, I get it.
I've been banging my head against the keyboard for a week trying to tease out a plot for this military science fiction proposal I'm trying to write, and it's time.
It's time to hit 'Select-All, Delete.'
Okay, so I'm nowhere near as brave as Ms. Barnhill. I think I will probably secretly save what I've written in under a different name and stash it in the far-corners of my proposals file. I also am losing less than 2,000 words. But, the principle is the same. This is not working. I need a complete do-over. I'm dumping the whole thing and trying agian.
So, yeah, there are times when Kelly Barnhill is RIGHT.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
What's weird to me about this phenomenon is that I'm not usually one of those writers who talks about how hard the process is. I would never deny that writing is hard. It is. But, for me at least, I love it just that much that the pain of revisions or the blank page or whatever is really quite mild in comparison to the sheer joy of getting to make sh*t up all day long. (Best. Job. Ever.) The things, instead, that tend to break my heart are the business end of things. I can (and have recently) get really down about how hard it is to actually make a living as a writer.
I have an awesome idea for a proposal right now. It's been kicking around in my head for nearly a week and a half. I can not. get. out. I think, actually, my problem is two-fold. Not only is the Internet really shiny when writing isn't flowing, but I also don't really have a good handle on my plot yet. I need to figure out what story I want to tell. I've got this awesome character that I'm really in love with, but I haven't figured out the "what's at stake?" question. What is it that's going to make her grow and change over the course of 80,000 to 100, 000 words?
I have some of her character "issues" (she's from a future "visible minority,") but I haven't figured out what about that is going to come to a head--and HOW. The "how" has been kind of killing me, actually.
But, I'm determined to have a finished draft of the proposal by Thursday. Now I just have to not look at all the shiny bits...
Wednesday, September 05, 2012
BAKUMAN starts as the story of two young Japanese middle school boys who dream of publishing their own Manga. It's a slow enough process that they don't really start to realize this dream until they're graduated from high school. But, what I love most about the story is how both realistic it is to the publishing industry (with allowances for some cultural/genre differences) and how deeply inspirational it is.
What's so inspirational about it, you ask? Well, for one, our heroes get a boatload of rejections. Every time they get ahead a step they get knocked back two. They get series placed in Shonen Jump only to watch it fail miserably. They do this again and again and again and, here's the important bit: THEY NEVER GIVE UP.
In my opinion, that's the only true way to survive as a working writer.
I got another proposal rejected yesterday.
I could cry about it, but I'm actually kind of pumped to get back in the saddle and try out another, BETTER idea. Having that thought made me feel like I was a character in BAKUMAN. In a very Japanese moment, when I got the rejection notice from my agent, I felt like writing back and hitting the all-caps to shout that I'll "do my best!" (which I swear someone yells in every single Manga I've ever read) on the next attempt.
So I'm off to DO MY BEST today. Wish me luck!
Tuesday, September 04, 2012
Many years ago, I was on a panel at a different convention, WisCON, about the phenomenon of "feeling like a fraud" that a surprising number of writers experience at all levels in their careers.
Of course, there's the "I haven't published anything yet, I feel like a fraud" problem, which I was reminded at this convention because my friend Naomi and I had a terrible Baltimore WorldCON when we were in that position. It involved always feeling one step behind all the cool kids, and a crazy story in which we were escorted out of the Hugo Losers' Party feeling like the biggest losers on the entire planet (we weren't trying to crash the party, honest! We were locked in the stair well.)
Then, there's the next step on the fraud ladder: "I've ONLY published [one short story, one small press novel, etc.], I feel like a fraud." This is also kind of just a stage in your career, but a lot of people have a harder time here than in almost any other. There's a lot of judging by others at this stage. You're active enough in the business to get ON panels, but then you have to sit there will people who rattle off a list of accomplishments a mile long and, with each one, you feel smaller and smaller and smaller. This can actually happen at any stage. When I'd had my first book out, I had the pleasure/misfortune of being on a panel at CONvergence with Neil Gaiman. It's difficult not to feel like a turd at the foot of a giant in a situation like that. He, of course (like many other super-pros), was massively gracious. But, sometimes you run across those who sneer, "Oh, I see, small press..." etc.
Fraudness continues as you move up, no matter how much you publish or how many awards you win....
In fact, what's tough about the "feeling like a fraud" phenomenon is that Neil Gaiman probably feels it, too, sometimes. I know that, after fifteen published novels, I really should have no cause to feel like a fraud, but I still do. This has a lot to do with the nature of our business. As soon as the contract ends (and often long before the book hits the shelf) a person can feel like an out-of-work layabout. If, god forbid, the next contract isn't instantly forthcoming it's VERY EASY to imagine that your career is over, if only because there's always someone you know in this business for whom that happened. Hence, there's this sense that when I'm not actively writing on a project, I'm some how no longer a "real" writer.
The feeling of not being a "real" writer was intensified for me at WorldCON because all the luminaries of science fiction/fantasy are there (or at least a whole boatlaod of them, at one point, literally--as I was on a boat with a bunch of much more famous writers.) Plus, it's *just* outside of my Fandom. Enough of the Chicago concom folks intermingle with the Minnesota concom types that I got on panels, but most of the people I ran into at WorldCON not only didn't know me from Adam, but also didn't know how to pronounce my name (not Tate, the other one.) That just left me feeling like a complete dope.
HOWEVER, I did manage to have a good time. And, there's a weird thing about me, which is, the more under pressure I feel, the more I perform. So, feeling like a nobody has actually inspired me to get cracking again.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
FRIDAY - 3:00 - 4:30pm --Broad Universe Rapid-Fire Reading
SATURDAY - 10:30am - Noon --Autograph Session
SATURDAY - 16:00 - 17:30 (4:00pm-5:30pm?) --Series: Why Do We Love Them, Why Do we Hate Them? (ooh, I'll have tell Shawn. Jack McDevitt is on the panel with me!)
SATURDAY - 10:30 - 11:00pm (for some reason they switched out of military time) -- Reading: Lyda Morehouse (perhaps Tate wasn't invited? Too bad, I intend to read from Precinct 13.)
SUNDAY - 1:30-3:00pm --Grimm from a Portland Perspective. (A panel I'm probably on because I have Grimm opinions in general, given I don't live in Portland and have no Portland perspectives.)
I am also pleased to say that I will be at several parties, including one that you all are invited to--the Hogwart's Renunion Party. It's an adult cosplay Harry Potter party, and I dusted off my Slytherin robes and stuffed them into my suitcase. I'm hoping that will be some fun. My hair is currently crossplaying Severus Snape, so I guess its geared up, even if I'm still doing the headless chicken thing.
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
In the way of the wheels of publishing, I wrote PRECINCT 13 and turned it in last year. It came out this August. Normally, my editor buys the next book almost right away, and I start working on a sequel so that it can come out _next_ year.
Because my editor hasn't bought the next book, I've actually been "out of work" for almost a year. I haven't been writing any original fiction at all (I have, alas, written nearly 200,000 words of fan fiction, but that's another story.) This was a mistake. It was an honest one, but a mistake all the same. Had I not trusted that the book contract "would be coming," I could have written and finished any number of dream projects. But, because I was expecting news of a contract sale "any minute now," I let myself fall into vacation mode. I doodled around. I played with fan fic. I generally didn't do anything to forward my writing career for an entire year.
I can't afford to do that any more -- not financially, and not emotionally.
So, I'm starting to finally wake up, smell the coffee, and start casting around for various ideas and projects. One thing I've decided to do is take part in the NaNoWriMo. I was thinking that one of the things people always say to me is, "Tate, you should write a Garnet Lacey e-book." I've always sort of nodded politely and not done much about that idea, because I had deadlines to meet. Also, it's sometimes difficult for me to get excited about something that no publisher is waiting for. However, it feels like November might be the time to get serious about that. So, I've officially signed up and am planning to spend that time working on a Garnet Lacey e-book. I'm going to dust off my proposals and see what looks neat. I'm thinking of this as an opportunity to do some things that the publisher would never have gone for -- maybe Garnet will have a secret affair with Parrish (maybe there will be a three-way!) Who knows? The cool thing is that, for once, there are no limits. I'm really hoping to enjoy the process and revisiting old friends. But, if you have anything you'd like to see in an e-book, now is the time to tell me. I'm going to start jotting down ideas in my NaNoWriMo notebook!
I am also planning on tracking my progress with this and other projects here on my blog. So, I hope you'll stop by now and again to cheer me on. I'm sorry I've been away, but it's good to be back.
Thursday, August 09, 2012
Here's one from Smexy Books: http://smexybooks.com/2012/08/review-precinct-13-by-tate-hallaway.html
And Seeing Night: http://seeingnight.blogspot.com/2012/08/review-of-precinct-13-by-tate-hallaway.html
I was particularly pleased with the second one because it seems clear that the readers are sensing just how much FUN I had writing this book, and it makes me happy.
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Pretty (bleeping) awesome, right?
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
I wrote a condensed con report for CONvergence on my LJ account. But, I know many of you can't access that easily, so I shall reprint it for you in full below.
Also, for this blog, I should add that CONvergence is one of the largest local (St. Paul/Minneapolis) area conventions, and possibly one of the largest anywhere (if you discount media cons like ComiCon). There were 6,000 people in attendence. I was also there, officially, as Lyda Morehouse (my alter ego), though Tate Hallway did make several rather memorable appearances....
I can't even begin to express all the amazing that was CON this year. I had So. Much. Fun.
I also think that I may have made a dildo reference with Tamora Pierce, which is just...awkward. In fact, I'm fairly certain that when/if I get the CONvergence DVD, I'm probably going to be pretty horrified by some of the things that came out of my mouth. This is the only drawback to having caffiene as my drug of choice. Too much coffee can make me stupid (usually funny, but sometimes only because I'm willing to say something no one really should have. EVER.) Also, I think this problem can be summed up by the fact that the single most retweeted line of mine involved me saying, "OMG, I got so much money for that short story; wait, let me take my clothes off." (Which makes no sense out of context, but kind of shows you the state of my over-caffinated brain.)
I met some amazing people who talked me into having a fan twitter account, so I now have Yet Another Secret Identity to keep track of, but, much to my complete surprise, I kind of like Twitter in small doses. It's so much easier to follow seven people than seventy.
Oh, and I'm pretty sure I failed the secret pro party. For one, I invited fans. Our squeeling scared off all the boys, but I also feel bad that my friends LJ-naomikritzer and LJ-jiawen probably ended up feeling left out as well. I did have a couple of panels from hell, which I should recount at some point in great and grisly detail but the gist of both of them can be summed up thusly: TOO MUCH TESTOSTERONE and OMG-at-least-read-the-genre-you're-bashing-or-I-will-go-commando-on-your-a$$.
In general, if I had a thinky-thought about CONvergence this year it is to wonder if there was a little blowback (as it were) towards women and womanly-things thanks to the theme, which was "Women of Wonder."
Now, sadly I must return to the Real Life (tm). What a let down! For one, I have no minion (yes, I got a minion as a perk of being of Guest of Honor,) and, thus, no one to fetch me things and/or generally take care of MY needs. I'm now back to caring for others and doing the dishes.
Wednesday, July 04, 2012
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Hallaway kicks off a fun new series featuring a young woman who learns that, despite what she's been told, she's not crazy. Hallaway is known for combining the weird and wacky with an element of danger -- and this latest offering is no exception. A terrific starting point for a series and a set of characters that promise to be very intreguing.
Friday, May 25, 2012
In fact, one of his favorite series was the DEAR DUMB DIARY books which are about a girl, Jamie, who has a whole lot of boy trouble in middle school. Those books are also really hillarious and written, interestingly, by a man.
The one area in which his reading tastes run more "boy" is when it comes down to a preferrence between Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys. We have far more Hardy Boys in the house than Nancy Drew, but, I have a feeling that once he's torn through all those Hardy Boys, Nancy will look a lot more interesting. :-)
I'm not sure what I'm trying to say about this except that I think it's amazingly damaging to keep insisting that boys need boy heros. I'm all for more girl-power books (and if this belief is the only thing fueling all those books, well then I'll put up with it,) but I think that boys will read those too, if given a chance. Certainly my boy will. If the story is good, he's there.
When I mentioned this on Facebook my friend and middle-grade writer Kurtis Scaletta suggested that boys will read books about friendships and romance "in SECRET." I told him that I hope that the e-reader can do for young boys what it's done for erotica and the middle-aged woman, which is to say, make reading whatever the hell they like less "shameful" since no one can judge the e-reader by its cover, as it were.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Despite my bravado, I was feeling a bit down after reading the hateful review yesterday. Thus, the universe interceeded on my behalf. First, I had a lovely time hanging out at a coffeeshop with a friend in which she nearly convinced me of the merits of writing fanfic in my own universe (it could happen.) Regardless, we had an excellent time chatting about Minicon and fangirliness.
Then a royalty check arrived in the mail.
The very best revenge, my friends, is living well.
Monday, April 09, 2012
I've been thinking about amount of sheer chutzpah being a writer requires a lot lately.
First, in my Loft class, I was having a chat (I'm teaching on-line this year, which probably deserves a post all its own,) and one of the students was talking about how difficult it is to work up the courage to send stories to magazines. I get this. In fact, this is one of the reasons I have offered to do this part of the job for several members of the writers' group. Yet, I've never had a lot of trouble with it myself. I have what my martial arts instructors call an indomitable spirit. I don't believe I'm awesome so much as I believe that you can't win if you don't play. I'm always willing to wade in and get knocked out. Then, I get up and do it again. I get pounded a lot, but I've got a smile on my face because, to me, this is part of what it means to be a writer. Being engaged in the business, even if it bloodies your lip.
And it will.
Because, even AFTER you've punched your way over the transom and into publication, you still get really nasty reviews. Even ten years after a book comes out, you might stumble across something that points out all the weaknesses you always secretly knew you had.
The hardest is part of being a writer is how utterly vulnerable you have to be willing to be while also maintaining a ridiculously thick skin. It's a really strange requirement, but I think one of the ones we really have to develop if we want to survive.
Once more into the breech! Let us ride out to meet them!
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Wednesday, March 07, 2012
Monday, March 05, 2012
I'll be one of the guests on tomorrow night's (Tuesday, March 6) "Write On! Radio" show on KFAI. You can catch me by tuning into 90.3 FM/Minneapolis or 106.7 FM/St. Paul from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Or, it's available streaming at: http://www.kfai.org/writeonradio.
If you can't catch it live, the show is usually archived within 24 hours. I'll be sure to post a link once it's up.
I'll be talking, among other things, a bit about the newest (and, sadly, last) Ana book, ALMOST FINAL CURTAIN.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Tuesday, February 07, 2012
Monday, February 06, 2012
If you have none, please feel free to stop by Uncle Hugo's from 1:00 - 2:00 pm where I will be signing Tate's newest release, ALMOST EVERYTHING, the last of the Vampire Princess of St. Paul books. If you need more info, please check out http://www.unclehugo.com/prod/index.shtml
Hope to see you there!
Friday, January 20, 2012
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Tuesday, January 03, 2012
One of the things I did over the holiday was read the page proofs for the mass-market paperback edition of Tall, Dark & Dead (my first Garnet Lacey book). My editor sent it as a .pdf, and so I mailed it to my partner's fancy new Kindle Fire, and spent a day reading my book on the Kindle. I found several typos, much to my surprise. The good news is that they'll be corrected in the paperback version. The other thing that was kind of awesome about that is that I discovered that one of my best selling books is also one of my quirkiest.
I don't know if you noticed, but Garnet is kind of a slut. There is a LOT of sex in that book, and sexiness. Sebastian is also surprisingly dark, and Parrish is... a total hustler, like literally, in that book. It's kind of amazing... and Garnet's friends are odd, a lot like my real friends, and the interactions in that books are very *me*.
Thus, one of the things that re-reading that book has done for me is made me a bit more confident about my quirkiness as a writer. You see, in most cases, I had no idea if my personal brand of weirdness was a plus or a minus to sales. The AngeLINK books, which are very *me*, are all out of print.
This "failure" has caused me to believe that maybe I had no idea how to write to a popular market. But, TD&D is going to mass-market. It's the only book I've had that's changing format like that. As a trade-size book, it's well into its sixth or seventh printing. I've easily made as much money in royalties from that book as they paid me in an advance, probably twice as much... if not more.
My point is, I can now say, with confidence, that my quirkiness is _not_ a detriment to sales. IN FACT, a person could make a pretty strong case that... maybe, just MAYBE I know what I'm doing.
Well, we probably shouldn't go THAT far. But, at least, it seems to be true that a book that has a lot of my extra special weirdness smeared all over it isn't automatically headed for the remainder pile.
This was kind of an epiphany... during the Epiphany and everything.